Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Next stop - planet earth.

There is something about infertility that makes you feel like you are hovering in space, watching friend by friend go by beneath you with their carseat (or two, or three) in the back seat.

I believe that I have been blessed with being able to maintain important friendships in my life, even when those friends have mostly gone on to conceive and give birth to their child(ren). Thanks, friends! I know it has not been an easy road for me, nor has it been an easy road for those who have seen me flounder and struggle with infertility and have to temper their glorious news of pregnancies and births in order to tell me. I can appreciate how difficult that must be.

However, when it comes to making new friendships, I have definitely shied away from women who are pregnant or have small children. This is especially true if they have ever said something insensitive, even without meaning to, about infertility. Something like, "It's in the water," or "This time next year I'll be pregnant." To an infertile woman, those kind of comments seem to trivialize the amazing gift of pregnancy and children.

I get it. People are bonding with others with those comments. For someone who has never seen infertility up close and personal, it's never even a consideration that something so seemingly innocent would be taken so personally by someone like me. And I've even had a lot of practice with such comments. I must always consider how to respond with grace, and remember not to roll my eyes and say, "Dude. You don't even know."

I lost my metaphor, didn't I?

So, I guess now I'm back to earth driving my car with the carseat base in it. No carseat yet, but I'm drivin'. I think I'll drive right out of this metaphor, because now I'm really stretching it.

All that to say, today I made a connection. I decided to put my old inferiority complex aside and play with the other moms. It was a time of celebrating, healing, and re-connecting with old friends. There is something very isolating about infertility. Not only is it difficult for me to be around a group of ladies swapping pregnancy or baby stories, but I am sure sometimes it is difficult for my mom friends to be around me. I've been a good girl, but nobody sane who has been exposed to infertility has not been affected by it. That goes for Fertile Myrtles as well as, and these are not my words but I have read them online, "Those infertiles." Grr. Have a heart, will ya'?

Today I was reminded that no matter how our children come to us, we are their parents. Our job is to raise them right, and as Christians, to raise them to know the Lord. They get to make their own decisions, of course, but we give them to God and let 'em fly. Whether we are fertile or IF, we are equals in the parenting game. It was so nice to see all of the friendly faces at my new Motherwise Bible study. Praise God. (And thanks, DVNG).


Kristina said...

Hi Amy,

This message is a little off topic, but here goes:

I just wanted you to know that I have been lurking here on this blog since Sonia of Hannah's Prayer gave bith to twins at 23 weeks gestational age back at the beginning of April. (Little Rachel didn't make it, but Isaac is now at 31 weeks gestational age, and he could use some prayers for a serious heart surgery that he will have to under-go next Wednesday.)
ANYWAY, I must have found a link to this blog when I was scouring the internet looking for support for Sonia and praying for little Isaac. I HOPE that you know what I am talking about, because, otherwise, this whole set-up was pretty meaningless...LOL (the story of my storytelling)!!!
So, anyway, the point is, (FINALLY), that after reading your posts for two months or so, I have come to the conclusion that adoption is something that I will now look into. My husband is in complete agreement, and, until this experience with your blog, we never once talked about adopting. We have been ttc for two years, and I have had the same experiences that you have had, including a miscarriage at 6 weeks. I had THE EXACT same experience with the "borderline" HcG test results, and I can TOTALLY relate to all of the ttc trials that you have shared.
It is because of your amazing attitude and faith in our Lord that my husband and I have finally decided to mourn our losses and move on. I want to tell you "thank you" for your amazing ability to communicate your feelings, and for opening your heart and life to so many on this blog. Your testimony has made a difference in my life, and I feel closer to Christ because of it. I know that we have never met, or even chatted or talked, but I consider you, somehow, to be a friend. Well, if nothing else, you are at least my sister in Christ!! Please drop me a line if you ever have the time.
Love in Christ,
Psalms 121:1-8 (My life verses)
P.S. I am a public school music teacher in an elementary school. (We have music in common.) I play the piano, clarinet, recorder, and, of course, I sing. Clarinet is my main instrument, though.

Amy T. S. said...

I'm speechless. What a blessing you are! Praise God! He is faithful.

I'll be in touch.

Prayers for Sonia, Jong, and Isaac. I need to check up on their blog.

Thelma said...

Oh Amy...
I was going to post a comment saying you were an inspiration to me, but someone beat me to it...
drat! ;)
Blessings to you, sweet friend. Enjoy playing with the other moms! You go, mama!


~e. said...

This is going to sound like an odd simile. It would never have occurred to me that i, as a birthparent, would have anything in common with the infertile couples i was interviewing during the adoption process.

my adoption story is a long, involved, often inspiring, beautiful mess. Long story short? Both the parents and i went in with the expectation that the adoption would be essentially closed.

Through a series of rather odd events over the past three years, i have come to have a relationship with the family. For this i will be unerringly grateful until my last breath. So let me preface this comment by saying that i appreciate your openness to open adoption. It can seem scary at first, and even years later! But given the right match, it can be extremely rewarding.

i remember a night in the first year after my daughter was born, as i was just beginning to feel mostly healed from the experience. my daughter's mom (that's an expression that takes some getting used to!) and i were sitting across her kitchen table from each other and i was telling her these thoughts....

"I walk into a bathroom in a convenience store and have to choke back sobs at seeing the 'Koala Bear Care' changing tables. When someone around me has a baby, my happiness for them isn’t as complete as i know it should be... and the guilt at even feeling that way in the first place is biting. Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo commercials. Diaper coupons in the Sunday newspaper. Suddenly, everyone around me seems to be pushing strollers. The formula isle at the grocery store seems four or five times longer than all the others - just to spite me. Even how the kid screaming her head off in the middle of a movie doesn’t make me mad anymore - it makes me cry. This emptiness and longing, the wondering... it's desperate."

She looked at me with understanding and just said, "I know." And i knew she did, and i don't know why it surprised me that of all people, they would understand that.

i went on to tell her about the comments people would make to me... "Wow, you're so brave to give your baby up." and "Gosh, *I* could never do that." These things were often meant to comfort me, but they mostly offended me. And saying so, when the person was sincerely trying to make me feel better, was hard.

She identified with that too. Sounds like you understand as well.

Amy T. S. said...

~e, that is a really good point. It does seem very similar, and this is a point that I only began to realize a month or so ago when I started reading birth/first mothers blogs. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the grief of IF and forget that other people have equally heartwrenching stories of loss of children. Even though a birthparent in a good open adoption still has the chance to see and love her child, she has still lost parenting the child. She has still lost the normalcy of giving birth to a baby and then raising the child. Adoptive parents have lost the passing on of their DNA, and the joy of watching a child who is made of you and your loved one - his eyes, your smile, etc.

I think this is part of what touched me at church last Sunday about all the pain I have seen in the past few years - pain that made me feel so isolated - yet there are so many women experiencing shades of the same pain.

I really think that on that level adoptive parents and birthparents can relate to and support one another. This is something a closed adoption would not likely allow. I am really hoping and praying that we will have a close relationship with our child's birthparents. I am so thankful that I have so many new birthparent friends that I can call on as a sounding board in the future.